Yesterday, international correspondents broke the news of a massive terrorist attack in Southern Beirut, Lebanon. 43 people were killed, and 239 wounded, along with extensive property damage, in the double-bomb explosion.
According to Lebanese police, the ISIS terrorists had planned to set off four explosions, for which they had recruited 4 suicide bombers, each wearing an explosive apparatus on his chest. The first 2 terrorists perished setting off their explosive vests. The third terrorist died in the explosion of the second terrorist, as I recount below, without having the opportunity to set off his vest. The fourth terrorist, a Lebanese national from Tripoli, Libya, chickened out, fled the scene, and is now in police custody, singing like a canary.
In my post, I want to concentrate on a sidebar to this story, which I saw in LifeNews. This is the story of a heroic man who gave his life to prevent the final death toll from rising even higher.
ISIS vs Hezbollah?
Western media such as CNN and Reuters focus on the fact that South Beirut is “Hezbollah-friendly” territory. The propaganda slant is subtle, but it is there, usually right there in the first paragraph, for example, in the Reuters piece: “At least 43 people were killed and more than 240 wounded on Thursday in two suicide bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State in a crowded residential district in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a stronghold of the Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah.”
Yup, they manage to slip in the words “Shiite” and “Hezbollah” right there in the first paragraph. The not-so-subtle message is that ISIS is somehow targeting Hezbollah. And this is even true, in a way. But this slant lends the terrorist acts a molecule of legitimacy (since Hezbollah is a military organization), and deflects seamlessly from the main point, namely: That ISIS is actually targeting ordinary people who are out shopping and sitting in coffee shops, or visiting their local mosque. And this is the hallmark of true terrorism: the terrorists almost always attack the average Joe, who is just going about his business.
The two explosions occurred at 6:00 PM local time. This is the “peak” hour in the bustling neighborhoods of South Beirut; the bombers obviously counted on the fact that the streets would be full of ordinary people doing ordinary things. Nearby is the Shiite Mosque called Ain es Sikka, along with a popular shopping center called “Al-Mansur”.
The 4 suicide bombers had arrived on scooters, a common means of transportation in this bustling city. People are used to seeing the postmen riding on scooters, and apparently the bombers were dressed in postal uniforms. This disguise allowed them to get past all checkpoints without being stopped.
The first explosion was set off near the Mosque.
As per their usual plan, the terrorists were going to wait until more people came running into the area, to help the wounded. Then they were going to set off the second explosion in the same place and garner more civilian casualties.
But their plan was changed, and the number of casualties mitigated, by the actions of a heroic man named Adel Turmus.
Adel was sitting in a coffee shop at the time of the first explosion. He looked up and saw the second suicide bomber. The terrorist stood out in the crowd like a sore thumb: very thin and wearing several layers of clothing. A suspicious Adel took action instantly: he directly approached the terrorist and forcibly led him away from the crowd. At that moment (this was exactly 7 minutes after the first explosion), the terrorist’s bomb went off, killing not only himself and Adel, but also a THIRD suicide bomber, who was also standing nearby. The third bomber died, without having his own equipment set off.
All of this was told to LifeNews by an eye-witness named Mahmoud, the owner of one of the coffee shops in the area. An agitated Mahmoud can be seen in the LifeNews video.
Adel Turmus left behind two children: a boy and a girl. The children will grow up without their father, but at least they will know that their papa died a hero. Thousands of people already have written words of gratitude and condolence on Adel’s Social-Media page.
Fanfare for the Common Man
The accompanying video in LifeNews shows scenes of the carnage, and then at 00:28 seconds in, we see the interview with Mahmoud, the coffee-shop owner. Then shots of the motor-scooters on which the terrorists cruised into the neighborhood. Then back to Mahmoud, who tells the story of Adel’s beau geste. At 1:44 minutes in, we see heartbreaking photos of Adel and his children from their social media site. Adel has a broad friendly face, one of those typical Arabic faces, ringed by fearsome eyebrows which perhaps hint at his inner strength. This is the face of a man who does not hesitate when he knows what he has to do.